Buddy Kofoid fell just short of a victory Friday night after taking the lead on a restart with less than two laps to go only to slip back to fourth, but there was no stopping him on Saturday as he led all 30 laps in winning the second night of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ 53rd Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway. The victory was Kofoid’s ninth national midget feature win this season, the highest total by any driver in 2020.
Tanner Thorson would finish second, followed by Daison Pursley in third and Chris Windom in fourth as Toyota-powered drivers swept the top-four finishing positions. With the strong showing, Windom reclaimed the series point lead. He will take an 11-point cushion over Tyler Courtney and 32-point lead over Thorson into Tuesday’s event at Bakersfield Speedway, the final full points-paying event of the season.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Kofoid had a big run into turn one on the high side and was able to overtake pole-sitter Robert Dalby for the lead on the opening lap, with Tanner Carrick moving past Dalby for second and Thorson claiming the third spot two laps later.
The race would run green through the early going as Kofoid pulled away, getting into lapped traffic before the midway point. Further back in the field, series point leader Tyler Courtney was experiencing mechanical problems and was forced to pull into the pits on lap 14, ending his night.
The first yellow of the event came out on lap 18, when Kofoid’s Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) teammate Brenham Crouch got into the wall in turn four. On the same lap, Carrick would suffer a flat tire that would eventually send him to the pits and end his shot at victory in his first race since returning to KKM. As Carrick went to the pits, yet another KKM driver, Daison Pursley, would move into the top three, while Windom ran fourth.
A red flag on lap 28 would give Thorson one last chance to sweep the weekend after sneaking past Thorson and Logan Seavey for the win on Friday night, but Kofoid was able to hold him and drove off to the victory with an eventual margin of victory of .566 seconds. Pursley would finish third, one spot ahead of Windom.
“I knew we had good speed yesterday and we improved on our setup a little bit,” said Kofoid after capturing Toyota’s eighth consecutive USAC victory and the manufacturer’s 36th national midget feature win of the year. “It’s pretty cool to get another USAC win. I can’t thank my guys enough for all their hard work, as well as KKM, Mobil 1 and Toyota for giving me this opportunity. A lot of big names have won here and I’m proud to be adding my name to that list.”
The second-place showing marked Thorson’s sixth straight top-five since joining the Tom Malloy/Trench Shoring Toyota team.
“It just shows how strong these cars are,” said Thorson, who will be in the running to win his second USAC championship when the series head to California next week. “I have a pretty awesome piece behind me. We’ll take our speed over to Bakersfield and try to move up one spot.”
In addition to the top four, fellow Toyota drivers Justin Grant (sixth), Andrew Layser (seventh), Chase Johnson (ninth) and Carrick (tenth) also claimed top-10 finishes.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget Series heads to the one-third mile Bakersfield Speedway on Tuesday night for the “November Classic” before closing out the season at Merced Speedway, Nov. 20-21. The Merced races will award appearance points only, with 50 points for each driver who competes.
Toyota USAC Arizona Speedway Saturday Feature Results
Buddy Kofoid – 1st
Tanner Thorson – 2nd
Daison Pursley – 3rd
Chris Windom – 4th
Justin Grant – 6th
Andrew Layser – 7th
Chase Johnson – 9th
Tanner Carrick – 10th
Bryant Wiedeman – 11th
Thomas Meseraull – 12th
Emerson Axsom – 13th
Cannon McIntosh – 14th
Robert Dalby – 15th
Kaylee Bryson – 16th
Chase Randall – 18th
Noah Gass – 19th
Brenham Crouch – 20th
Clinton Boyles – 21st
Toyota Racing PR